One of the most important parts of travel is learning the stories behind all these famous places we want to see. Travel becomes pretty empty if we don’t find a way to emotionally connect ourselves with wherever we’re going. For me, I love finding out about human stories related to places, fictional or real. Real stories are even better. One of my recent favorites is the story behind the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a story of Irving Morrow and his passionate obsession with its development.
For me, I love finding out about human stories related to places, fictional or real. Real stories, of course, are even better. Recently, I decided to read more into the story behind the Golden Gate Bridge.
Something about it has always been enchanting to me even though it is, quite literally, just a reddish bridge. What made it any more special that the thousands of bridges around the world?
When I read the story behind it, everything made much more sense. Really it comes down to one individual named Irving Morrow and his passionate obsession with its development.
The Story Behind the Golden Gate Bridge
Before joining the project, Morrow designed houses and other commercial buildings as a relatively unknown architect. He had attended school at UC Berkeley and lived in France while studying at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
It was his constant ferry trips around the area that allowed him time to admire the scenery that surrounded him. He once poetically wrote about the Golden Gate strait,
“[it] is caressed by breezes from the blue bay throughout the long golden afternoon, but perhaps it is loveliest at the cool end of the day when, for a few breathless moments, faint afterglows transfigure the gray line of the hills.”
Morrow was undoubtedly infatuated with his home.
He brought this infatuation with him when the head engineer, Joseph Strauss, hired Morrow to add an architectural element in 1930.
During work delays, he introduced streetlamp layouts, railing and walkway designs, as well as an Art Deco style. These elements would help make the bridge more of an art piece than just another structure. He also stood by his desire to keep the bridge an International Orange color instead of gray or yellow and black, eventually convincing his coworkers to agree that the color was both durable despite the salty conditions and beautiful under all sorts of weather. He even went above his architectural role to suggest a lighting guideline to Strauss, which the head engineer would later follow.
He also stood by his desire to keep the bridge an International Orange color instead of gray or yellow and black, eventually convincing his coworkers to agree that the color was both durable despite the salty conditions and beautiful under all sorts of weather. Morrow even went above his architectural role to suggest a lighting guideline to Strauss, which the head engineer would later follow.
Passion is what creates lasting monuments, and this passion is what draws visitors now and what will draw them decades into the future. Morrow’s undeniable love has created a masterpiece. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most renowned symbols around the world and has seen millions of visitors since its completion.
How to See the Golden Gate Bridge
There are a few ways to admire the bridge, including walking across it! To see if from afar, head to Pier 39, Coit Tower, or the Marin Headlands. I only have experience seeing it from Pier 39. The first time was too cloudy to really see it, but the second time it was crystal clear. We wound up driving towards a parking area near the bridge and walking about half way across it. For more specific instructions, check their website.
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